Monthly Archives: May 2007

A dangerous world

Like many parents, I have followed the story of Madeleine McCann with strong emotions. For the very few of you who are not familiar with the tale, a brief recap: Four year-old Madeleine visited a resort town in Portugal with her parents and one year-old twin siblings. On May 3 her parents went to dinner with friends at a restaurant 100 yards away, from which their apartment was at least partly visible, but they left the children alone. (The resort facility, at Praia de Luz, offers babysitting and day care but the McCanns did not use these options.) The door [...]

By |May 29th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Law enforcement|3 Comments

What is the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program?

In the wake of September 11, the U.S. government has set up a number of customized background check programs to control access to sensitive positions. One of the greatest areas of concern has been container ships, with the fear that dangerous material could be shipped into the United States. In addition to port safety legislation, and concern over foreign ownership of American ports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched a worker credentialing program to help maritime security. This program, called TWIC, will limit access to port facilities, outer continental shelf facilities, and vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act [...]

By |May 26th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Employment screening|3 Comments

Data mining to stop crime, or support it?

The New York Times had an interesting pair of articles yesterday about the use of data mining and its effect on criminal justice. The first one described the expansion of business intelligence software beyond its initial role in the retail world. Business intelligence software examines patterns in large amounts of data. For example, this allows Wal-Mart to optimize inventory in each store by taking into account local variations in taste. In 2005, the police chief in Richmond, Virginia decided to try similar software to predict criminal activity. They analyzed 911 calls, arrests, and other data points. They found that crime [...]

By |May 21st, 2007|Categories: Law enforcement|0 Comments

Florida to restore date of birth identifier to court records

Via the National Association of Professional Background Screeners newsletter, it appears that Florida has decided to restore access to dates of birth in court records. As we posted earlier, this is an extremely important issue for performing accurate criminal checks. The date of birth is needed to prevent confusion between defendants with the same name, especially since access to social security numbers is becoming ever more restricted. Specifically, this is what is happening for Florida: By a 5-4 vote, the committee voted to recommend to the Court that full dates of birth be available electronically as part of the progress [...]

By |May 19th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks|0 Comments

Court rules Google background checks are legal

From Techdirt, we learn that the search engine background checks discussed in an earlier post have now been officially made legal -- at least to a limited degree. An employee at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was fired for misusing government property, a decision that was apparently made easier when an online search revealed that he had been fired two previous times as well. The employee, David M. Mullins, admitted that he had forged travel receipts to receive reimbursement, and an investigation determined that he cost taxpayers $6,419.83. No criminal charges were filed. But when Mullins was fired, in [...]

By |May 14th, 2007|Categories: Employment screening, FCRA, Legal|0 Comments

Marijuana meets the government purchasing office

And now, for a story that could only happen in Canada. In America, marijuana use is generally illegal. In any given day it is easy to find news of various drug busts that scoop up otherwise respectable citizens. There has recently been a concerted push to legalize marjiuana use for medical purposes, and some local jurisdictions support this, but marijuana possession remains a federal crime. A few weeks ago, events in Canada presented a vision of what the future might be like if marijuana was legalized for medical use here. The Canadian government was forced into supplying marijuana to qualified [...]

By |May 9th, 2007|Categories: Law enforcement, Legal|0 Comments
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